Bills S Simpson carted off field with left ankle injury; LB Wire hurt knee

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Bills starting free safety Ko Simpson was carted off the field with a left ankle injury 10 minutes into Buffalo's season opener against Denver on Sunday.

Simpson was hurt when he had his feet cut out from beneath him by teammate Jason Webster as the two were attempting to tackle Broncos receiver Javon Walker. Simpson fell immediately to the ground and was unable to put any weight on his left foot.

Team trainers were forced to lift the player onto the cart and he was taken for X-rays.

Buffalo's fourth-round pick in the 2006 draft, Simpson started 15 games last season, and was a member of the NFL's youngest safety tandem, playing alongside rookie first-round pick Donte Whitner.

Third-year player Jim Leonhard took over for Simpson.

Bills linebacker Coy Wire hurt his knee later on the drive and was being evaluated in the locker room. After being examined on the sideline, Wire made his way off the field on his own.

A converted safety, Wire was starting at linebacker in place of Keith Ellison, who's out with a high ankle sprain.

The injuries were the latest blows to an already banged-up and young defense that was starting four players with less than two years of NFL experience. Buffalo also lacks experienced reserves at defensive end, with Ryan Denney out indefinitely with a broken left foot and Anthony Hargrove suspended for the first four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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